Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The dance mercifully ended and several small children were rolling on the floor, laughing at the extravaganza of spazmatic movement they had just witnessed.
"Did you know that's called the Chicken Dance?" Cheryl asked Uncle Billy.
Billy nodded. "Of course I did ... I see them do that at the ballpark all the time."
"Yeah, it's a riot," I added.
"But they usually do it better then the folks here did it," said Billy.
"Oh, I don't know," said Clara, "I thought they did a splendid performance."
Billy made a face and was about to say something, but stopped when he heard Spike Jones's version of Cocktails for Two boom from the hall's sound system. He smiled and started tapping his hand on the table. "Now, that's music," he said.
Becky approached the table. Her bare shoulders were glistening with perspiration from participation in the fowl dance. "Okay, Mr. Tysinger ... it's your turn to cut a rug."
Billy recoiled from her slightly. "Oh no ... "
Becky grabbed his hand. "Come on ... Eb said this was your song."
Billy glanced at the wedding party table and saw Eb laughing heartily. "You ... " Billy sputtered.
Becky pulled harder. "Come on ... it'll be fun."
Billy kept resisting. "I can't ... it's ... it's this old war wound."
Becky let go of his hand. "Oh, I'm sorry, Billy, I didn't know you were a wounded veteran."
"You never mentioned that, William," said Clara.
"I never knew you were a purple heart recipient," said Cheryl.
"That's because he's not," I said.
"What do you know?" said Billy. He bent down to pull up his pant leg. "See that?"
Everyone at the table leaned to get a look at a barely visible three inch scar on his calf.
"Uncle, you're not trying to claim that was a combat inflicted wound," I said.
"Of course not," said Billy. "But it did happen in the service ... and during the Korean War."
"Really?" said Clara.
"Yes ... but it happened in Hawaii when you tripped over a barbed wire fence trying to steal pineapples," I said.
"Benny and I were waiting for deployment to Korea and we got bored ... anyway, I spent a week in the hospital."
"In Queens ... in Honolulu, because the base hospital was full of wounded combat vets."
Clara pushed Billy's shoulder. "You get out there and dance with Becky."
Billy slowly stood up and looked around the table. "Okay ... okay ... but if I have a relapse, it'll be all your fault."